Letter from Sophia Peabody Hawthorne to Rose Hawthorne Lathrop
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- Lathrop, Rose Hawthorne, 1851-1926, Hawthorne, Sophia Peabody, 1809-1871, Correspondence, Abernethy Manuscripts Collection
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- Virginia Faust
Concord Sunday April 26 ‘68 My darling. I dare say you will write to me today, and I must write to you. I am getting behindhand in my story. I wish very much to hear how you got through with your first music lessons at Russell’s shop- besides how you succeeded with your first week of school. And whether you liked the new trimming of your jacket, and of your new hat and new jacket. You will not know all our life here unless I tell you about Una’s transac- tions and heavenly charities with Mrs Willard. Una went there one day, in the first place, to see for Mrs Cook about her going away and cleaning the house. Una had previously been at Mrs Cook’s for an hour and a half visit, reading to her out of divine books, and trying to persuade her to be merciful to Mrs Willard, who had no place to put her head into. Mrs Cook seemed to become very placable under this entreaty of Una to _practice_ her religion, and so she left her and proceeded to Mrs Willard. When she entered, Mrs Willard looked very defiant and fierce, but finding that [this part is written sideways in left margin] Una made a bonnet for Ann in V.M. of blue silk and lace, and in evening read to me a superb essay on Swedenborg by [this part written sideways above letter] Mr Emerson. Saturday there was a snow storm and rain and I read and sewed while Una read a Essay on Montaigne. When Una went for the mail, I read to Ann (who was sewing For Una) the first chapters of Matthew. I am to read her all the new Testament. [page break] Una did not come to scold but express pity for her wretchedness, she soon began to cry- I can fancy the tones of Una’s voice acting like Moses did on the rock. She discovered that both the woman and her baby were ill, and that there was a little dress cut out for the baby which the woman had no chance to make, because the baby was fractious and she herself poorly. So Una brought home the little dress to make for her. This was on 16th April. Have I told you that on that day Mrs Bull made me a long visit, bringing me a superb bouquet of different colored verbenas, scarlet geranium, heliotrope and rose geranium. She has altered exceedingly and looked wildly unhappy. Nearly all her front teeth have gone since I saw her, and she has left off coloring her hair as if she did not care how she looks. Her face was also much flushed. As usual she confided to me a great deal of misery, chiefly about the intellectual starvation of her children, and Ephraine’s deep dejection thereat. I had a letter that day from Miss Ray, saying she had heard of Miss [Vanderooosters?] illness only through me. [written sideways in border] Today, Sunday, Ann went to noon mass, so Una did not go to church till the afternoon. I am getting much better. [page break] On 17th Una went to Mrs. Willard’s as soon as she was dressed. She said she saw that the woman was of a fierce and reprehensible temper and character, but she was much improved with her gentleness to her, and her gratitude, which also was not fulsomely expressed. She said she asked very much to get some place for her little boy of nine, for her husband would take care of her and the baby, if the boy could be taken care of. Una observed that Mrs Willard was very fond of these children, and that they were of her. Pet names were frequent between them, and the boy tried to amuse the baby, (whose name is [underline] Lily Florence [/underline].) So that there seemed love in the midst of wrong and violence. When Una went for the mail at night, she bought some scarlet braid to adorn the little dress. I thanked Heaven for so good a diversion of Una’s thoughts and attention, and I felt sure she could get no harm (being surrounded by “angels serviceable”) and that the poor, sinful woman would probably have her first taste of Heaven from Una’s ministrations. 18th was Saturday, and I thought of my darling’s joy at the bright day and the music lesson. I was glad too that Frank Channing had so [written sideways on left border] Una not at all strong, but I hope she will be really better when we go to Bratt. She needs change. [written sideways on right border] Goodbye- with thousand loves and blessings- your own Mamma [page break] fine weather for his departure for England. I had written him a letter in the week to lament my not seeing him once more- which I directed to Oxford. It probably went in the steamer aboard which he was. I felt pretty well that good day, and sewed the breadth of your grey dress- while Ann bound the [--]iggin] of my shawl [------] and mended some clothes for me. Una went to the dressmaker’s and had her walking dress cut out, and brought home all your goods in her arms, and took out of the library for me Layard’s Nineveh. We expected Mrs Cook after dinner, and Una meant to tell her how placable Mrs Willard was, and that she need not fear to go. But behold she came [underline] after [/underline] seeing Mrs Willard, confiding in Una’s mediation. And she had spent the whole afternoon with her knitting, in the very jaws of her former enemy, in most sociable, amicable talk and offices. For Mrs Willard made some nice tea for her, and they had a [page break] 2d sheet real symposium. Was not that glorious? So much for St Paul’s Charity as expounded and enacted by the “heavenly Una” with “the milk white lamb”- (her innocence) I had a letter from Dr Conrad in which he said I must take drives and [underline] ale! [/underline]. In the evening I was very happy in the bowels of the earth beneath the sod that had heaped over Nineveh. On Sunday Una went to church, and heard that Edward Emerson was at home and ill- I wrote to Mr Waterston about a home for the poor little boy- and to Aunt E.V.V. And for the first time I descended the stairs on that day. On Monday it rained, and the only light we had was a letter from you, darling. I was not very well and lay abed till dinner, at times reading Nineveh. Tuesday dawned pleasantly, and Una resolved I should have my first drive. By the time she had the chase, it clouded a little, and we went, and it was good to break bounds and [page break] breathe fresh air. It did me good. 22d Wednesday was the finest possible day. Una went for a buggy and while she was gone Lily Chase and some others arrived from Lexington to see her and you. Una drove up just as they were going away. So they came in a while. Then we had a delightful elysian drive, for the air was ambrosial. We took Raphael’s angel and went to Mrs Edward Hoar’s with it at last. We saw Mrs Hoar, but Florence was at school. Of course I did not get out. In the PM, I trimmed your jacket. Oh, I called to Look at Aunt [Linnie Nat?] on our return from Lincoln. She could not see me enough with only two eyes, she said. Mr. Hillard sent me a present [page break] of some ale, which I found by [---] means, Una had sent for on her own account. I found also that she is to present me with these drives!! I can do nothing but submit to her divine aids. The Lord will bless her. We were much cheered by a happy note from Julian by that evening’s mail- [No?]- by the bag- at last- arrived 23d. A letter came from kind Mr Waterston, telling about an admirable home for the boy. So he will be saved. Also a note from Mr Jeffries, saying he would come up to see the place before he advertised it. We went to drive at eleven in a wild south wind. We went over the arched bridge and saw Anursnec[sic], and called at the Old Manse, but could see no one. We met Charles Emerson, driving out his father, who looked deathly. On Saturday they telegraphed for Haven, thinking he was fatally ill. But he is revived, and as soon as Haven is married, [page break] he is going to New York to live with him and his wife. I sent your bundle that day- Una went for mail, and was fetching the biggest carpet bag from the saddler’s, when Mr Sanborn stepped up and took it from her and escorted her all the way home, as pleasant as [Zoses?], and gay as a lark. I am forever indebted to him for making Una laugh so merrily as I heard her, coming into the gate. The Sanborns are going away the mid of June. In the evening she read aloud to me a magnificent lecture of Mr Emerson’s upon Plato. Friday 24. A very cool east day, [Foggy?] drew Lily up here in her carriage and came in to stay with me while Una went for the buggy. As to Ann she went up the tower to clean the study- and accomplished it all by four oclk[sic]. A letter came from Clara Holmes- with love in it but no items. Also from Mrs fields to me, asking me to go and spend two days with her. She does not know how I cannot do such things yet.
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